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Mona Fertig

Mona Fertig

Gaslight Square, 131 Water St.

  • Author: peggywat
  • Date Posted: Sep 1, 2015
  • Category:
  • Address: Plaque is on lamppost in front of 131 Water St.
Downtown-Fertig-Mona

Photo credit: Janet Dwyer


Location: Plaque is on lamppost in front of 131 Water St.

At age 24, Vancouver poet Mona Fertig established her first Literary Storefront operation at this location, in a vacant upstairs dress shop, suite #213.

The 70s literary scene in Vancouver was fragmented by many different writing cliques, schools and university groups all rolling around in their own universes. I had experienced some of this exclusiveness and wanted to have a place where these walls were broken down and a common ground prevailed.

From The Literary Storefront: The Glory Years, Vancouver’s Literary Centre 1978-1985 by Trevor Carolan

Her concept of a communal meeting place for literati was inspired by Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare & Co. bookstore in Paris during the 1920s. Two hundred people attended the opening on May 13, 1978. In March of 1980, the literary storefront moved to its second location, nearby, upstairs at #1-314 West Cordova. There were more than 600 literary readings and events during the four years of Fertig’s directorship. In 1982 she transferred management to four committees and her board of directors in order to move to Montreal. Wayne Holder and Tom Ilves (later the president of Estonia) took over the reins but the Literary Storefront Society was dissolved in January of 1985. In 1990, Fertig moved to Salt Spring Island, with her husband Peter Haase and their children, where she and Haase started (m)Öthêr Tøñguè Press, a private literary press later renamed Mother Tongue Publishing.

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Her concept of a communal meeting place for literati was inspired by Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare & Co. bookstore in Paris during the 1920s. Two hundred people attended the opening on May 13, 1978. In March of 1980, the literary storefront moved to its second location, nearby, upstairs at #1-314 West Cordova. There were more than 600 literary readings and events during the four years of Fertig’s directorship. In 1982 she transferred management to four committees and her board of directors in order to move to Montreal. Wayne Holder and Tom Ilves (later the president of Estonia) took over the reins but the Literary Storefront Society was dissolved in January of 1985. In 1990, Fertig moved to Salt Spring Island, with her husband Peter Haase and their children, where she and Haase started (m)Öthêr Tøñguè Press, a private literary press later renamed Mother Tongue Publishing.

The 70s literary scene in Vancouver was fragmented by many different writing cliques, schools and university groups all rolling around in their own universes. I had experienced some of this exclusiveness and wanted to have a place where these walls were broken down and a common ground prevailed.

From The Literary Storefront: The Glory Years, Vancouver’s Literary Centre 1978-1985 by Trevor Carolan

 

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Learn more about Mona Fertig at ABC Bookworld